The 3rd Regional KIX LAC Hub-SUMMA Meeting was held with the aim of continuing to mobilize evidence, knowledge, innovation and promote the exchange of experiences on educational policies and practices. “Strengthening Public Education in Latin America and the Caribbean”, during three days in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
With the presence of the countries that make up the KIX LAC Hub, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Saint Lucia, this third regional meeting brought together more than 60 relevant stakeholders from the educational field, representatives of the Ministries of Education, universities, teacher unions, civil society organizations and international experts in education, to discuss strategies, research and innovations, and work together to fight the challenges of strengthening public education in the region from a global, regional and national perspective.
The meeting included a ministerial panel consisting of the Vice Minister of Education of Honduras, Jaime Rodríguez; the Minister of Education of Dominica, Octavia Alfred; the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Education of Saint Lucia, Pauline Antoine-Prospere; the General Director of Educational Levels and Modalities of the Ministry of Education of El Salvador, and Edgar Abrego; and the Director General of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Didacus Jules.
Also participating as speakers on different days of the meeting were the General Deputy Director of Technical Teacher Education of the Ministry of Education of Panama, Victoria Tello; the Gender Manager of the Ministry of Education of El Salvador, Yeny Rivas; ; Nadette Langford, OECS Senior Technical Specialist; Florencio Ceballos, IDRC program director; and Ian Macpherson, Head of Knowledge Sharing and Innovation (KIX) at the Global Partnership for Education (GPE); Javier Luque, GPE Country Lead; and Joel Warrican, Director of the School of Education, University of the West Indies (UWI); the Executive Director of the Centre for Educational Leaders of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Carmen Lucía Montecinos Sanhueza; Xavier Bonal Sarró, Professor of Sociology at Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona and coordinator of GLOBED; Héctor Montenegro, international consultant in socio-emotional education; and Vicky Colbert, recipient of the Yidan Prize (2017) for Educational Development and Executive Director of Escuela Nueva de Colombia.
The Director of Strategic Development and Advocacy of SUMMA, Karla Fernandini, opened the meeting, and the Director of KIX LAC, Raúl Chacón, presented KIX’s progress and achievements, ensuring that “at SUMMA, we have a great opportunity with KIX LAC, to contribute to educational improvement in the region and continue to actively promote dialogue and collaboration between representatives of the Ministries of Education, academics, teacher unions and organized civil society.”
“We must identify the educational gaps, challenges and priorities, in order to establish the policy and research agenda that frames the issues for which evidence needs to be mobilized,” he added.
Next, Sonia Rees, OECS Information Management Officer, was in charge of presenting the inaugural panel “Educational Challenges in the Region”, which began with a presentation by SUMMA’s Director, Javier González.
The economist presented the results of the regional study «La Voz Docente (The Teacher’s Voice)», carried out by SUMMA together with OECS and KIX LAC, in 21 countries in Latina America and the Caribbean, with the participation of nearly 200 thousand teachers. González reviewed the negative impacts of the pandemic on teacher and student well-being, and highlighted that the closure of schools and the suspension of face-to-face classes had a strong negative impact on access to education and student participation. And he listed the main challenges that emerged from the study, such as learning recovery; the strengthening of support mechanisms and pedagogical accompaniment; and the protection of the right to education by increasing and sustaining public spending on education and its efficient use.
For his part, the Director of OECS, Didacus Jules, presented the “regional challenges from the perspective of an international organization”. “Developing regional and specific policies is critical. We have a responsibility to observe the contexts. The approach is not to prescribe solutions, but to attend to the particular needs of each location”, he said and stressed that “the solutions require a deep understanding of the problem. We need to align and SUMMA has been a glue for these efforts”.
After the individual presentations, it was the ministerial panel’s turn, facilitated by Javier González. The objective of the session was to reflect on the role and challenges of public education in the territory, emphasizing the challenges associated with financing public education. Along with this, an attempt was made to reflect on the opportunities for articulation between countries, through subregional alliances and with the KIX-LAC Hub.
“Education is not an expense, it is an investment and it is an investment in the future,” said Rodríguez, while Abrego warned that “the problems are many and the resources are limited.” “Financing must be prioritized and it must transcend presidential terms,” he said. Minister Alfred, for her part, stressed that “we have the responsibility to lead the government and other ministries, we seek collaboration between ministries, and education must lead the process.” Pauline Antoine-Prospere spoke of the need to keep students in school and “support parents to keep children in school.” Didacus Jules concluded that “there is never enough funding in education; there is always a battle between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education in all parts of the world”.
After the panel, there were spaces for discussion regarding thematic priorities of the different countries, and an open space for thematic dialogues and networking.
Toward the end of the day, the meeting’s opening dinner was held, with a presentation by Vicky Colbert, winner of the 2017 Yidan Prize for Educational Development. The Founder and Director of Escuela Nueva spoke about “Scaling and sustainability of innovations and educational policies: the Escuela Nueva Experience”, and then there was a space for questions and answers.
During the second day, a fair of outstanding experiences of the KIX ecosystem in Latin America and the Caribbean was held, a space in which five NGOs presented the projects they are developing in the region. In addition, during the three days of the meeting, posters of the projects were exhibited in a space set aside for this purpose.
The projects presented were:
Adaptation and Expansion of Peer Mentoring of Teachers and School Leaders for an Equitable Rural Education, presented by Daniel Araneda, Project Manager at Educación 2020.
Strategies to Prevent Sexual Violence and Generate and Promote Equity in Rural Schools, presented by the Policies Coordinator at Red CLADE, Giovanna Modé.
Digital Adaptations for an Effective and Inclusive Distance Education in Rural Communities in Honduras and Nicaragua, presented by Florencia Ripani, Director of Fundación CEIBAL, and its Coordinator, Diego Vázquez-Brust.
Strengthening the Capacity of Teachers and School Principals to Scale Bottom-up Innovation in the Caribbean Education System, by the State University of Haiti (Limonade) in collaboration with Raise Your Voice Santa Lucía.
Adapting and Scaling Up Teacher Professional Development Approaches in Ghana, Honduras and Uzbekistan, presented by the Director of Educational Policies and Practices at SUMMA, Dante Castillo, and the KIX Global Honduras Coordinator at SUMMA, Rosa María Moncada. Moncada noted that “working with the KIX project has been a learning journey.” “The role of school directors and municipal directors is key to accompany teacher training,” said Castillo.
Next, an Experts Panel took place, a space in which attendees had the opportunity to discuss, ask questions and present the reality of their countries directly to each of the experts who spoke during the day.
After a group outing through emblematic sites of Tegucigalpa, the third day of activities began with the objective of co-building work agendas with the hub countries representatives, in relation to the KIX 2.0 programming.
The first session consisted of strategic meetings to discuss and plan on the use of KIX work plan mechanisms, in relation to the educational challenges identified by each country. During the session, the two institutions that drive the hub, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC-Canada), made their presentations, through Ian Macpherson, GPEKIX Team Lead and Javier Luque, Country Lead of the organization. Following, KIX LAC Director, Raúl Chacón, explained the hub’s roadmap for its second implementation cycle.
In the second session of the day, a new work strategy for direct support to the countries was presented, which is under development, and which will be promoted in this new stage of KIX 2.0. The Director of KIX LAC, Raúl Chacon, presented this Country Support strategy, and then four cases of collaboration initiatives that are already being implemented were also presented.
Facilitated by Karla Fernandini, SUMMA Director of Institutional Development and Advocacy, and Maciel Morales Aceitón, KIX LAC researcher, the cases were presented by Joel Warrican, Director of the School of Education, University of the West Indies (UWI); Victoria Tello, Deputy Director General of Technical Teaching Education of the Ministry of Education of Panama; Nadette Langford, OECS Senior Technical Specialist; Yeny Rivas, Gender Manager for the Ministry of Education of El Salvador.
Subsequently, a work space was held for the country delegations to outline a profile of possible projects that could be carried out with the “direct support to the countries” mechanism.
At the close of the third day and of the meeting, the Director of SUMMA, Javier González, highlighted “the level of trust that there was while working together.”
To conclude the three days of the regional meeting, the delegations enjoyed a dinner with a dance and music show that displayed Honduran folklore and culture.